Just like that, UFC 200’s main event is gone. Jon Jones has been flagged by the USDA for a banned substance and was subsequently removed from his fight. The fight between Mark Hunt and Brock Lesnar has now been moved to the main event spot, making this the third scheduled main event fight for UFC 200. As you can see in the video above, taken about two months before we found out about the positive test again, we see the ultimate irony in Jones talking about his long road back to the top. With one announcement, that all disappeared and Jones is about to face an even bigger uphill battle. Here is an excerpt from a press conference the UFC held a few hours after the Jones announcement was made. White brought out Jeff Novitzky, who is the UFC VP of Athlete & Health Performance and he read this prepared statement.
“The UFC organization was notified tonight that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Jon Jones of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collection on June 16, 2016.
USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case. It is important to note that, under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full fair legal review process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed.
However, because Jones was scheduled to compete against Daniel Cormier this coming Saturday, July 9 in Las Vegas, there is insufficient time for a full review before the scheduled bout and therefore the fight has been removed from the fight card. As a result, the three-round heavyweight bout between Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt will become the UFC 200 main event.
Consistent with all previous potential anti-doping violations, additional information or UFC statements will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.
Ticket refunds available upon request at primary point of purchase.”
Now Jones has his chance to prove his innocence on this matter. When fighters test positive, they can have their “B” sample tested and see if that also tests positive. There is no word yet if Jones will go with this route, but obviously if he pleads innocence, it would make the most sense. It is also a devastating blow to Danile Cormier as well, the man went through a full fight camp, the mental, physical and financial challenges will all take a toll a fighter. There is no word yet if the UFC will find a late opponent for Cormier, as of now they are in search of one to keep him on the card.
It is a sad day for the UFC, they went from having the highly anticipated rematch of McGregor-Diaz, to another highly anticipated rematch of Cormier-Jones and now will have Brock Lesnar a man who has not fought in close to five years. He is still a huge draw, but this card has surely taken a huge money hit twice now.